How Do National Police Checks Work?

In Australia, a background check gets referred to as a National Police Check. It is a process of checking a person’s details on the central police database to confirm they don’t have any history of crime.

Fingerprint checks are conducted as a regulatory or legal requirement and takes some time to process. In case fingerprint check is needed, it is your responsibility to get a full set of original fingerprints from your local police jurisdiction and post it along with a complete application form. It is important to note that prints taken by the use of a “Live Scan” cannot be accepted.


Why Would I Need A Police Check?


Police checks are for licensing, immigration, professional registration, and volunteering purposes. National Police Check is commonly a requirement for employees for pre-screening before employment. The Australian Federal Police may conduct a National Police Check upon request by an Australian company and report back any convictions or pending charges in court. The company must authorise for the check to get obtained as per the legitimate requirements of the Commonwealth or Australian Capital Territory. AFP does not give company checks for small businesses like bookshops, but offers companies such as Master Security License, Aged Care Approval Rounds, and others.

How are Australian Police Checks Done?


Individuals must meet specific requirements before submitting a National Police Check. They include the inclusion of all names like the maiden name in full, the date of birth must be entered correctly, the application must get paid in full and in Australian dollars, or cash received from an Australia Post, copies of ID and informed consent and completed application forms.


Payment can get done through MasterCard, Visa or American Express. Once the person has given all the listed details, they get checked for possible matches on the police database. For people who have lived in different states, it might take a little longer than expected to get the results. The outcome is that there might be a potential match in the database of a person known by the police or “No Disclosure Court Outcomes.” The forms need to get submitted within three months after signing them.


What are Disclosable Court Outcomes?


It includes court appearances, court charges and convictions, traffic offenses, findings of guilt without sentence, matters waiting for court hearings and also good behaviour bonds. However, depending on the need for the police check spent convictions may be excluded, but police checks that are related to licensing, overseas visa and teaching jobs spent convictions might get disclosed.


Certificates get issued by the Australian Police printed on a secure paper. The applications are submitted online, or you can download the form, and fill in the details by hand, and submit it through the post. Credit card details get sent by email, but emailed applications are not accepted.


What Does It Mean If My Check Gets Referred?

The automatic search at the national police database can detect a potential match. For purposes of conducting further investigation, the details get highlighted. Almost a third of police checks get referred resulting in delays. The issue may be as simple as your date of birth and the name being similar to someone else’s. The delayed police checks are usually manually processed to confirm if the match is correct or not.


What Happens Next?


The outcome can be “No Disclosable Court Outcome” given by the police if the match is wrong or there is no information to be released. Also, your police check may include details on “Disclosable Court Outcome” if the police find a match on the database or disclosable police information. Processing of delayed checks can take one to fifteen business days depending on the reason for referral and the workload of the police. Processing time for fingerprint check is around 30 days. Online applications that do not require further investigation can have the Certificate delivered in minutes.


Disputed Record Enquiries

A Disputed Record Form gets completed if a person feels the information provided on the certificate is inaccurate or incorrect. Any additional details that support your inquiry must be attached to the disputed form for proper access to your application. Applicants get notified in case the AFP requires fingerprints to solve the disputes. Privacy Commissioner protects personal information such as the investigation of the details that are released incorrectly. Applicants who believe there has been a breach in the use of old conviction may request for an inquiry from the Privacy Commissioner.




People living or working in Western Australia can apply for a National Police Certificate as long as they meet the set requirements. For applicants who are less than 15 years, a parent or guardian must sign their consent at the time of application. The certificate is valid from the date of issuance and has no period of validity. It is upon the employer or organisation to know the currency of police check they accept.


Leave a comment